A guide to anal sex for people with vulvas.
Thinking about anal sex for the first time? From how it feels to how to do it, we worked with experts to get to the bottom of the questions around first-time anal sex.
Remember, sex is sex - be that solo, partnered, intercourse, or outercourse. Take the same approach when it comes to ‘anal sex,’ and the pleasure possibilities might increase. Anal pleasure is another way of discovering yourself, your body, and what you do or do not enjoy. Just like anything in our sex life - nay, life in general - you don’t have to enjoy it, and you absolutely won’t if you force yourself to do it. Listen to your body.
Does anal sex give you pleasure?
Yes! For many of us, anal sex can feel very pleasurable. Much like the vagina, most of the anal nerve endings are not that deep inside, and the outer part around the anus called the perianal region, is also very erogenous. There are a lot of nerve endings that can make the stimulation of both regions very pleasurable.
Satisfaction from anal involves lots of stimulation, not just penetration. Research published by OMGYES.com in 2022 discovered that 40% of women enjoy touch on and around the anus; 35% have found shallow anal penetration pleasurable, and 40% find anal stimulation enhances clitoral or vaginal stimulation. So, there are lots of ways to play out back!
Real, informative sex education is key to helping you understand the potential pleasure from anal sex. Here’s a look at the anal anatomy and why anal stimulation can feel so good.
The anus, or what’s visible between the butt cheeks, is the opening to the rectum. It is made up of two muscular rings: the internal and external sphincter. The anus is rich in nerve endings (up to 4000!), most of which are centered just around the opening. And this is why anal stimulation can be so pleasurable.
The pudendal nerve.
At the base of the spinal cord lies the pudendal nerve. This main nerve helps us feel pleasure during orgasm because it’s smaller nerves attached to the bladder, anus, and clitoris - all of which help send signals to the brain about what feels good.
Pelvic floor muscles.
Here we can also find the PC or Kegel muscles. They stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone, forming the floor of the pelvic cavity. If you’ve ever squeezed out that last drop of pee, you were using these muscles. They also contract during orgasm and sexual pleasure.
The perineum, also known as the perineal sponge, is located just at the bottom of the vagina opening and the anus. It’s made up of blood vessels, nerve endings, and erectile tissue. When aroused, it becomes swollen with blood, compressing the vagina and vestibular bulbs, creating a tighter feeling.
How do you prepare for anal sex for the first time?
First-time sex, anal or otherwise, should always be centered around pleasure. If you’re trying anal sex with your partner, make sure you’re doing it for you, too - you should enjoy it as much as they do. For an enjoyable anal experience, preparation is key, and not only how you might assume. Here are our anal sex preparation tips for beginners…
The best way to get comfortable with anal play is to try it yourself. Incorporate it into your existing masturbation routine as a way to enhance what you’re already doing; a gentle stroke between the butt cheeks or a finger inserted in your anus. If you enjoy using vibrators, try a vibrating anal plug. Yes, we’re out here normalizing anal self-pleasure, as it’s very rarely talked about in anal sex guides.
Before having anal sex with someone, talk about it. Discussing you’re expectations or worries builds intimacy and helps you understand each other better. Knowing what you both feel comfortable with and who is open to doing what sets boundaries early on.
Your first time together trying anal could be all about touching around the anus or shallow penetration; it doesn’t have to be full anal intercourse. Similarly, it doesn’t have to be exclusively about anal - in fact, anal sex is MUCH better if there is lots of other stimulation beforehand.
Practice safe anal sex. For penetrative anal sex with a penis haver, use a condom to protect yourself from infections. The same goes for when using anal toys with different partners. You might need a few condoms, as when you switch from anal to vaginal, you should always change the condom.
When preparing for anal sex, there is one big essential. Lube! The anus does not naturally lubricate, so for anything to go in - strap-on, penis, toy, finger - lubricant is necessary. Stock up on a water-based lube and pop it on your nightstand within easy reach.
You do not have to douche before anal, it’s all down to personal preference. Poo is natural. If you are super worried about poop during anal, consider eating more fibrous meals (TikTok has lots of bottom tips) in the days beforehand - it means your bowel movements will be much more smooth. Pooing or douching a few hours before anal sex, rather than right before, is optimal!
How to enjoy anal sex for the first time.
We can’t emphasize this enough - anal sex, even the first-time, should be enjoyable. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Far too often, people with vulvas are taught to accept painful sex. Everything should be peachy, not ouchy! 🍑 Here’s a step-by-step guide to anal pleasure…
Not only will it help you enjoy the moment, but it will also help your body - and your anus - be less tense. The more you are relaxed and comfortable, the better the experience will be. Top tip: Light a scented candle that takes you back to a very pleasurable sexual moment.
2. Extend outercourse.
Take time to prepare your body before trying anal penetration. Kissing, caressing, licking… the more aroused you are, the more you will be ready to enjoy this new experience. Clitoral stimulation is a no-brainer for vulva owners, and don’t forget you can also try massaging the perineum and around the anal opening with a finger to get comfortable with exploring the new erogenous area.
3. Use a condom for protection.
And never go from anal penetration to vaginal penetration with the same condom, finger or toy. Change the condom first.
4. Use lube.
Be generous with the lubricant; the more you use, the more enjoyable it will be. A thicker, gel-like liquid will provide a friction-free sensation that’s less likely to dry up quickly. Reapply during, too - lube isn’t just a starter!
5. Go very slowly.
When it comes to anal penetration, the first step can feel uncomfortable: inserting the head of the penis or toy. Breathing deeply will help a lot. After this first step, the pain (if any) should stop. Otherwise, pause for a moment, and take the time to increase your arousal with other types of stimulation (hello clitoris). Remember, anal is not a quickie; it's a slow sexual experience.
6. Communicate throughout.
Many people say their favorite thing about anal is how connecting it is, as you and your partner have to constantly share how it feels and ask how one another is. Use words and sounds to communicate whether something feels good or uncomfortable.
7. Try different anal positions.
The most common anal positions? Lying flat on your stomach is a favorite to get started. After a while, some experiment with doggy style as it puts the receiver in complete control of speed and depth. Being on top also gives you this type of control and guidance of rhythm. If you are the receiver, a missionary position with your legs straight up in the air and knees bent can be pleasurable but takes some warming up to do.
You must test different things to know what you both like best. This can also change with different partners and types of penetration ie penis, strap-ons, and toys. Just like with vaginal penetration, clitoral stimulation can boost pleasure and increase the likeliness of orgasm. So, think about positions that allow for your clitoris to still be reached by you or your partner.
8. Don't be afraid of poop.
Besides the fact that it is rare, remember that your partner is aware of the small risk of poop - and it’s a decision you’ve taken together. You’ve both already decided that the pleasure potential outweighs any awkwardness! If there is a misfortune, it’s totally natural.
Aftercare and comfort.
Prioritizing pleasure and communication doesn’t stop one you both stop. Anal sex aftercare of your partner (and vice versa, especially if you’re the giver) is essential; and is an intentional act to show you care for their well-being physically and emotionally. It helps you both gauge each other’s enjoyment levels, show appreciation for each other, and establish how you keep exploring anal in the future. Here are our favorite post-anal sex care tips…
1. Relax, breathe, and hydrate.
Take time to revel in the endorphin and oxytocin high. Stay in the moment and feel the intimacy you’ve just created together. Water and oxygen are two very good things for recovery, too.
2. Check in with each other.
Ask each other how it was, how they feel now, if there was anything they’d do differently next time, or if there is anything you can do now… Being attentive is sexy, even after sex! Praise your partner, too. Anal sex can feel vulnerable, especially if it’s your first time, and thanking your partner and telling them what you enjoyed can help them feel safe with you.
3. Clean up.
Intimate wipes come in handy directly after anal sex, more so for the lube than the other thing you’re worried about - honestly. It’s normal for the anus to feel a bit sore after penetration, and a gentle wipe can feel refreshing. Top tip: To excel at aftercare, why not clean each other up and keep the intimate play going?
4. Butt fart.
After anal sex, air might be trapped, kinda like when you queef. It’s completely normal to feel like you want to fart, and can be done as part of your post-sex peeing ritual!
5. Wash up.
Penises, toys, strap-ons, yourself! This prevents bacteria from being spread and keeps up good anal sex hygiene.
We hope this inspires you to be anal about pleasure when it comes to first-time anal *wink*. Still not ready to try yet? Or, tried it but didn’t like the experience? It’s no big deal. Really. Anal sex is not for everyone, and your partner must respect that it is just not your thing. Listen to your body, and know that your pleasure is no less important than your partner’s!